Letter to Residents RE: Coronavirus

March 20, 2020

Dear Voice Resident,

We are writing to inform you of important updates in light of current events. For the health and safety of our residents, leaders and staff, Voice is suspending operations in the office until further notice. We will still share information regarding Voice programs, opportunities or resources of interest to residents.  Expect us to contact you thru our automatic calling system, newsletters, website, and social media. If you do not already receive these alerts and would like to, please click here or call our office 773-769-2442.

Our Resident Opportunity Services program team will provide support during this health crisis by phone and remotely to provide information and referrals on

  • Ways to obtain food, groceries, and other necessary household supplies.
  • How to apply for emergency unemployment or other financial assistance.
  • Information on current debt and bill relief programs and policies.
  • Assistance in accessing essential physical and mental health services.
  • And, how to sign-up to receive regular check-ins throughout this time of need.

For questions, please call or leave a message at our office or with the Resident Services Coordinator at 847-920-2442. We will get back to you as soon as possible. For property management, maintenance and rent questions, please call and follow the guidelines set by your property manager.

For additional health recommendations and updates, visit these sites:
www.chicago.gov or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Sincerely,
Colleen Heitlage, MSW
Voice Resident Services Coordinator

Voice 2020: Who We Are

Voice is a small, but dynamic housing organization, controlled by tenants on the board, and supported by Uptown community reps and professional advisors.  It has a proud history, informed by experience in issue advocacy, community development and property management. In 2019, Voice of the People was in transition and strategizing about the future. 

To realize the organization’s vision of a vibrant mixed-income community in the next fifty years, Voice embraces some basic principles that will guide advocacy, programs, and services. 

  • While affordable housing alone may be enough for some residents to attain a higher quality of life and new level of self-sufficiency, most will still have challenges where they can benefit from support services.  To assure social sustainability for affordable housing, support services should be available to tenant-families and all residents.
  • While owners enjoy fleeting rewards for financing affordable housing, the long-term economic challenges to property management can be more daunting.  Voice, and all providers of affordable housing, must continuously seek greater capacities, enhance revenues, and realize cost efficiencies — so that they can viably continue.  This is what is required for economic sustainability of affordable housing.

So this is Who We Are in 2020

Voice is an affordable housing provider.  

Voice owns and manages property in Uptown, directly and with partners (14 buildings with 214 units). We intend to be the best “community partner” we can be by helping property management do its job well, and assuring long-term affordability in what is now a high-cost, reinvesting community. 

Voice is an organizer of residents and leader in affordable housing policy.  

The organization has a rich history of organizing residents around concerns regarding their apartments, buildings, and blocks.  Voice will deliver these “Legacy Services”, do it better, and begin to bring low income tenants and local owners together on areas of common concern.  The organization’s staff will also take on leadership roles with local and city-wide coalitions. Affordable housing is a human right — which remains the unifying theme of our work.

Voice is a new provider of support services to residents. 

Affordable housing is an essential need, but it is not the only need to address for tenants to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families. Voice is beginning to connect people to opportunities based on their needs, interests, and goals — starting with Voice owned and partnership properties. Voice encourages volunteerism in support of the many great organizations and institutions of Uptown.

And, Voice wants to support owners of affordable housing long term.  

In order to maintain and welcome affordable and mixed-income residents into their properties, owners need assistance too.  Whether owners are for-profit or non-profit, Voice intends to advocate for sensible policies and provide program services so that owners can stay in the community without selling out to the highest bidder.  

 

June Happenings | Get Involved !

June 12th, 7:00 pm Clarendon Park

CAPS Community Policing Beat 1914

for buildings located at 914 W Montrose,

852-54 W. Sunnyside/4509-11 N Hazel,

847-49 W Sunnyside, 927 W Wilson,

900-02 W Winsor/4534-40 N Hazel


June 15th, 10-3 pm

Bezazian Library Book Sale

Be there or Be Square for Great Bargains on Everything

1226 W. Ainslie Avenue


MEETING CANCELLED

WILL BE RESCHEDULED

June 20th, 6:30 pm Truman College

Public Townhall Meeting

Demanding DHS Better Address Human Needs

1145 W. Wilson Avenue

READ MORE


June 20th, 7:00 pm Margate Park

CAPS Community Policing Beat 2024

for buildings located at

4861-63 N Kenmore

4927 N Kenmore, 4813 N Winthrop


June 22nd, 1 pm Family Activity Center

Voice Tenant Leadership Council

Pizza, Planning & Tenant Priorities

4416 N. Magnolia (Basement)

READ MORE


HELPFUL RESOURCES

ARE YOU 60+ YEARS OLD ?

Get Free Assistance for

Financial Planning & Medical Powers of Attorney

at the Elder Justice Center

LEARN MORE


Monday, Wednesday 9-10:30 am

FREE JOB COACHING & SEARCH ASSISTANCE

Northside American Job Center

Truman College, Suite 1106

SEE THIS

Call for Community Advisors

 


In this the 50th year of Voice of the People in Uptown, our  organization is strategically planning for another fifty years. We are inviting neighbors and representatives to provide positive input and guidance.

Voice is a non-profit corporation controlled by its low-income and working class residents, as well as supportive community people, professionals and peers that comprise its advisors and board.  It has been a long-time developer and provider of affordable leased and ownership housing, and facilitated the creation and preservation of housing throughout Uptown with other organizations.

Be Heard.

Voice of the People is listening. 

The Community Advisory Committee will seek to raise awareness about Voice of the People, while enlisting guidance about current and planned efforts in property management, resident services and collaborations with area service providers.  In this process, the organization is reaching out to property owners and business who want to extend housing and economic opportunities to residents of a diverse, mixed income Uptown.

Follow us on Facebook.  Call or Contact Voice regarding your interest or to recommend others who may wish to participate.

312.769.2442   Voice1968@vophousing.com

 

Year-End Recap | 2019 Preview

CHALLENGE & CHANGE

As a co-sponsor of multiple developments in Uptown (16 properties), the Voice of the People in Uptown has been challenged this year like many owners — to manage affordable housing well, given increased taxes and costs, while enabling tenant services and preparing for more improvements.

On the heals of important meetings with community leaders this October, Voice kicked off the first of several events for the organization’s 50th Anniversary, holding a Reception & Strategic Planning Session with tenant leaders. Voice has asked tenants and friends to give what they can, ideally $50 or more, to demonstrate their support for the organization’s anniversary and mission.

You can donate too

And if you want, support the programs, projects or perks you prefer

2018 has also seen staff and board changes, with Maurice Hamp assuming the President’s position. Michael Rohrbeck took the helm as Executive Director in August 2018 and LeTasha Francellno-Glenn recently joined the property management team. Outgoing and retiring staff played instrumental roles in the transition, including Debra Claybron (15 years as Executive Director), Cheryse Eberhardt and Earsene McClain (retiring this December).

Voice of the People in Uptown ends the calendar year with gratitude toward all, and in particular to our development and management partners, the Chicago Community Development Corporation and Leasing & Management, Inc. The organization looks forward to a new year with a refresh of the Tenant Leadership Committee, a start of a new Community Advisory Committee, and the beginning of substantive relationships with local organizations and institutions dedicated to area owners and residents of leased homes.

Peace, Best Wishes & Happy New Year

 

Fall News

Voice of the People in Uptown — News & Notes

  • This Halloween, our offices at 4861 N. Kenmore becomes a spooky but welcoming place.  It will be a bit of a coming out party for resident leaders and staff to meet neighbors, including block club activists sponsoring safe trick or treating.  In addition to tricks and treats, we’ll be showing scary videos and raising cups of hot cider and cocoa with cool visitors to our stately, yet bloody, front porch.
  • Middle School Parents, spread the word about workshop November 7th, 7 pm at Uplift High School.  It’s your chance to learn more about CPS high school application process, resources and navigating the maze of options among neighborhood schools, some with academic and arts programs, as well as magnet, charter, and selective enrollment high school options.   The need expressed by our tenants has helped to make this opportunity possible. See flyer below.
  • A start of a process of renovation begins in November at five Voice properties, where energy conservation is first priority in advance of winter.  Residents, watch for notice of details on improvements, annual inspections and events.

From the Executive Director


Dear Voice Residents

My name is Michael Rohrbeck, the new Executive Director of Voice of the People in Uptown, a community development corporation that symbolizes and reminds us of a proud history of enabling development and improvements that primarily benefit lower income and working class people – people like you who live in a building owned by Voice or its partners.

Voice has 226 units in 16 buildings. But buildings and apartments, bricks and mortar, do not convey who we are. The residents of our leased homes are who we are. Community and city-wide allies, donors, and supporters that want a vibrant, mixed-income Uptown, also are who we are. We will be asking for your images and words in the coming weeks so that we can better represent the Voice of the People in Uptown. It is my hope that Voice Residents will also begin to engage with organizations across our community and increase the capacity of those groups to improve the quality of life in Uptown.

It’s our 50th year! We will be focused during this time on stabilizing the organization and strategic planning for the next 50 years. We anticipate having programs that will represent the next generation of community development in Chicago. We expect to demonstrate how we can, with cost-efficiency and market effectiveness, expand housing, service and economic opportunities.

Soon I will be asking board members and outside supporters of Voice to donate $50.00, or $50.00 a month, to back our efforts. Residents could do the same or donate any lesser amount — perhaps $1.00 for every year of affordable housing. Your donations, and your volunteer time, will help us show the community, and the corporate and foundation world, that we are all in for a better future.

Uptown needs a new Voice for a great, mixed-income community.

Almost 40 years ago, I came to Chicago as a volunteer, working in the W. Garfield Park and Austin communities, first as a volunteer for a church-based housing organization, later as a staffer supporting tenant services and housing cooperative organizing; overseeing acquisition, development and property management of affordable housing; and, coordinating efforts intended to assist owners who wanted to stay and responsibly reinvest in their homes.
I was an Executive Director, a President of the Chicago Rehab Network, an At-Home Dad of three kids, a Block Club President; a co-founder with others of a Cooperative Preschool, a university fellow assisting non-profit organizations, and a manager in a private sector consulting and law firm.
I do not have a magic wand, nor do I claim to be an expert at any one thing. But I am committed with our board to helping Voice to:
  • demonstrate and model how good property management can happen;
  • enable resident access to the best services and economic opportunities our great community has to offer; and,
  • support other owners and developers of mixed-income and affordable housing – so that they may prosper, while reserving a portion of Uptown’s housing for people of modest means.